Dutch company FFWD (pronounced ‘fast forward’) has joined a growing number of wheel manufacturers making use of the PowerTap power measuring system. FFWD’s PowerDisc is a carbon disc wheel based on a PowerTap SL 2.4 hub.
It’s a great idea, as measuring power under racing conditions gives you valuable feedback on your performance, both during and afterwards.
We put several hundred miles of training and racing on the FFWD PowerDisc, including a number of rides in heavy rain, and we’ve got no problems to report. The build quality seemed to be ﬁne, and it stayed within 1mm of true during testing.
Even without power measurement, the disc alone is an excellent racing wheel. We broke a few time-trial course records and set several personal bests while using it. Like any disc, it’s a little cumbersome at the corners but its superb aerodynamics mean it accelerates up to speed again quickly.
Braking was typical of any carbon wheel – it’s not as good as an aluminium surface, especially in the wet. But most of the time, rear wheel braking isn’t that crucial anyway.
We didn’t expect a disc wheel with built-in power measurement to be cheap, and it’s not. But at £1895 it’s around £450 cheaper than its nearest competitor, the PowerTap Zipp 900 disc. The PowerTap wheel is 150g lighter, but the FFWD comes with a free wheel bag, quick release skewer and valve hole decal set, as well as the PowerTap head unit, heart rate strap and software.
It’s available in both tubular and clincher versions with either Shimano or Campagnolo freehubs, and weighs 1230g without a skewer, which is reasonably light considering the PowerTap hub adds an extra 120g or so.
However, Saris, the maker of PowerTap and the ‘ofﬁcial’ PowerTap/Zipp disc wheel, isn’t too happy with the FFWD PowerDisc.
Saris claims that FFWD has modiﬁed its hubs and is worried that this will have an effect on their accuracy. So you can’t expect any support from Saris if things go wrong with the hub. On the other hand, FFWD says it will warranty the PowerDisc, so this shouldn’t be an issue.